Unimpressed by the stunt, Fatso gave the man a large bite on the leg, but then miraculously let him go.
The 36-year-old man suffered “some very nasty lacerations” to his right leg, but was able to climb back out of the enclosure and seek medical help.
The incident took place at the Broome Crocodile Park in Western Australia. It is understood that the man was a visitor to the region from the eastern states.
Police said he had been ejected from a nearby pub for being too drunk before he decided to scale a barbed wire fence to get a closer look at the reptile and give him a pat. Fatso’s pen is shared with two female crocodiles.
“He has attempted to sit on its back and the croc has taken offence to that and has spun around and bit him on the right leg,” Broome Police Sgt. Roger Haynes said.
“Saltwater crocodiles … once they get hold of you, are not renowned for letting you go,” Haynes said. “He’s lucky to have escaped with his life.”
The man, whose name has not been released, was treated at Broome Hospital, where he received dozens of stiches to his leg.
Police have said he could be charged with trespassing.
Saltwater crocodiles are the world’s largest reptile and can grow up to 23 feet. They have become increasingly common in Australia’s tropical north since hunting that almost extinguished the species was banned in 1971.